Sarasota Police seeking information in 1985 cold case

New Technology To Help Solve 1985 Cold Case

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Police in Sarasota are asking for information in a 1985 homicide.

The murder occurred in October 1985 in the 300 block of Tarpon Avenue, Sarasota.

Denise Marie Stafford, 28, was found deceased on Oct. 13, 1985. Sarasota Police detectives believe Denise was at home alone with her child at the time of the homicide and believe the murder happened sometime between 11 p.m. and 3:10 a.m. in the overnight hours of Oct. 12.

Sarasota Police investigators believe Denise and her husband worked and visited former establishments in Sarasota, specifically the “Playground Lounge” and the “Sawmill Restaurant.” Investigators from the Sarasota Police Department believe utilizing advancements in evidence analysis as well as new information from the community will be crucial in solving this homicide. Recent advances in DNA technology have allowed the Sarasota Police Department to re-examine forensic evidence from cases once thought to be unsolvable.

The Sarasota Police Department is asking if anyone has information on this case to call Investigator Jeff Birdwell at 941-263-6028 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at

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